Treating your seasonal allergy symptoms requires a multi-pronged attack, one that addresses your diet, lifestyle and natural treatments.
Underlying Causes of Seasonal Allergies
Are you aware that your risk of suffering from allergy symptoms increases significantly if you have certain underlying medical conditions? Unmanaged stress, asthma, deviated septum, recent trauma or illness, pregnancy and food allergies can increase your risk of allergies.
These conditions can adversely affect your immune system and how it functions. Your allergy symptoms occur when our bodies release a histamine in response to an allergen. A strong immune system is key to fighting seasonal allergies.
According to Johns Hopkins, allergies are disorders of the immune system. Your body over-reacts to harmless substances and produces antibodies to attack the substance. This is what causes your symptoms.
Your immune system is especially susceptible after a physical trauma or surgery, underlying illnesses or when you are under emotional and physical stress. Lack of sleep can even exacerbate the problem. Lack of sleep also weakens your immune system.
Stress plays a big part in the immune system. Unmanaged stress can lead to allergy symptoms. According to the British Institute for allergy and Environmental Therapy, stress can make allergies worse but once the stress is managed, the symptoms of hay fever and seasonal allergies improve.
There are foods that you should avoid during allergy season. Any foods that you are sensitive or allergic to should be avoided. If you aren’t sure how excessive your food allergies are, try an elimination diet to help you identify foods that can make your allergies worse.
Foods to Avoid During Allergy Season:
- Dairy (Conventional)
- Processed foods
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Sunflower Seeds
The foods to avoid may make you feel a loss, but there are some great tasting foods that will help relieve your symptoms as well as strengthening your immune system.
Enjoyable Foods to Eat During Allergy Season:
- Raw local honey
- Wild caught fish
- Hot and spicy foods
- Bone broth
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fresh organic vegetables
- Free range poultry
- Grass fed meats
Bone broth from chicken, lamb or beef can help to ease respiratory problems and help expel excess nasal mucus. It also helps reduce inflammation in the body and boosts the immune system. The enzyme bromelain as well as the vitamins B, C and other nutrients found in fresh ripe pineapple can help reduce the reaction to seasonal allergies. Apple cider vinegar helps to boost the immune system, helps to break up mucus and supports lymphatic drainage. Three times per day, mix one tablespoon of ACV with one tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a half-tablespoon of local raw honey and drink. Ginger can be particularly helpful, as it helps to warm the body and breakdown toxins in your system.
Lifestyle Changes During Allergy Season:
- Keep doors and windows closed. When the pollen count is high, or the day is particularly dusty, if you keep your doors and windows closed it will limit the exposure.
- Stay Hydrated by drinking eight to ten glasses of water every day. When you get dehydrated, mucus will become more difficult to expel.
- Wash clothes and bedding often. Fresh clean bedding and clothes reduces your exposure to allergens.
- Shower before you go to sleep. You may have dust or pollen on your skin or in your hair and it can make your symptoms worse.
- When your pets come indoors after being outside, wipe them down. They often come in covered in pollen. If you wipe them down with a damp cloth it will help to limit your exposure.
- Tidy Up. Clutter around your house collects dust and allergens that make your symptoms worse. Pay close attention to your bedroom.
- Replace carpets with hard surfaced flooring. Carpets attract and retain dust and pollen that is difficult to remove. By replacing carpets with easy to clean surfaces, you could benefit significantly.
- Try to limit your exposure. On days that the pollen count is high, wear a mask and try to limit your time outdoors.
Allergy medications only relieve symptoms. Natural remedies for allergies often work better and are much healthier for your body. Treating allergies takes patience and a combination of tactics. Start by removing the foods you are sensitive to, eat foods that boost your immune system and then incorporate supplements into your routine to help eliminate the cause of your allergies.
The immune system starts in your gut and 80% of your immune function is stored in your gastrointestinal tract (GI). So it’s no wonder that research keeps linking probiotic use to reduced risk of allergies. By populating your gut with the right probiotics, it could be the key to easing your allergy symptoms.
Resources for Probiotics and allergies:
- Ouwehand, Arthur, “Antiallergic effects of probiotics,” Journal of Nutrition, Mar 2007.
- Ozdemire “Various effects of different probiotic strains in allergic disorders: an update from laboratory and clinical data” PMC US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
- Gui Yang, Zhi-Qiang Liu, and Ping-Chang Yang, Au “Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis with Probiotics: An Alternative Approach” PMC US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health